CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - A comatose Tennessee teenager had to get both of her legs amputated after contracting an infection over the Christmas holiday, according to family members.
Anita Navas, 13, is currently being treated at Erlanger Children’s Hospital for septic shock and also undergoing dialysis.
Her family said the ordeal started on Christmas Day, when Navas contracted strep group A and the flu type B combined. The strep group somehow got into her bloodstream, which caused an infection.
"I guess she looked like she wasn't feeling good," her mother, Jenny Dill, told FOX Television Stations. "She's a very bubbly, active kid.
Navas had developed an earache, but then she started swelling in her foot and arms and Dill rushed her daughter to the emergency room.
Dill said doctors took blood samples, but the situation grew worse. Her daughter flatlined after her blood pressure dropped. The infection also spread to Anita's organs, and they started to fail. Her lower extremities started to turn black.
"One doctor said that it [the infection] was like eating her from the inside out," her sister, Cynthia, said.
Anita Navas has been in an induced coma being treated at a Tennessee hospital. (Credit: Jenny Dill)
Cynthia said doctors made several incisions on her sister's body to release fluid pressure and to suck out the infection, but it was a challenge as the infection continued to spread.
Cynthia said doctors tried to save her sister's legs, but they had to amputate both of them five inches below the knee. They also had to removed muscle tissue from her arms. Cynthia said she's not exactly sure if her sister will undergo more amputations, as it depends on how soon her sister becomes medically stable.
"To see my little sister and this state broke me in ways I've never been broken before," Cynthia continued. "I never knew how much I loved her until I saw her in that bed."
Anita Navas (Credit: Jenny Dill)
She also doesn't know how Anita will react when she wakes from her coma, but remains hopeful.
"She's very brave. Optimistic. If there's a challenge, you best bet that she will overcome it," she added. "She knows that the Lord is with her."
Cynthia said doctors aren't sure how Anita contracted the infection but said the virus could've entered the bloodstream through the tiniest cut on the skin.
The family said Anita would undergo more surgeries. They are also resorting to skin cell growth therapy to help her with skin grafts that she needs.
Cynthia said her sister's ordeal has taught her how important family, life and love are.
"Always tell your loved ones that you love them, even if they're just going out to the store," she added. "If you truly love somebody, you want them to know that."
"And I wish I could tell Anita one more time that I loved her."
This story was reported from Los Angeles.